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Old 10-27-2021, 12:15 PM   #1
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City: Olympia
Vessel Name: Rendezvous
Vessel Model: Blue water 40
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bluewater 40 factory ac wiring

ok bluewater owners, here's another question.
i'm doing some cleanup on the ac systems wiring on my boat and i'm wondering where the original ac neutral buss is located.
i see some of what appears to be factory terminal strips under the helm station but the wire colors aren't right. i see some of the terminals jumped together, and there's also what appears to be a green bonding wire on some of them. i can see nice bundles from the ac breakers that seem to go down into the wireway that leads to the engine room, but nothing appears to land on a neutral buss with any white colors. i'm thinking the factory may not have used white for the neutral.
the previous owner did a bunch of wiring and for some reason he made his runs extra long and just rolled up all the excess and left it in a pile under the helm making it even more difficult to trace things out. i will be cleaning that up as well. there must be 50 pounds of boat cable rolled up in there along with a rolled up bunch of 4/0 that comes from the dc busses down below. just crazy.
i've dealt with the "leave it long in case you have to shorten it later" mentality, but this is extreme.
can anyone shed some light on this for me?
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Old 11-01-2021, 11:27 AM   #2
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City: Port Orchard,WA
Vessel Name: Ceora
Vessel Model: Bluewater PH Trawler
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 15
I think I know your boat, I recall it was early 1970s with a single Bedford. We have a 1979 BW, the wiring was a cluster of original and PO alterations. I spent days chasing it out, ringing wires end to end and relabeling. I have busses in two locations, in the PH cabinet forward and to port (also where the distribution breakers are), and in the ER forward portside bulkhead. I had reversed polarity on some outlets among other horrors. Identifing, labeling, and drawing out a schematic are key to sorting it out. I chose to leave much of the original wiring in place, finding that it was adequately sized and in good physical condition. Leaving enough wire at terminations to allow several future reterminations is good practice, more than that is not.
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Old 11-01-2021, 01:50 PM   #3
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Thank you for that. Yes my boat is a 72 with the single Bedford. My pilot house cabinet has the breakers on the starboard side, and I canít find any neutral buss up there. Iíll check the engine room port side and see if I can spot it. If all else fails Iíll just start at the shore power inlet and go from there. Itís all going to get opened up anyway.
Originally I was just going to spruce up what was there, but now Iím going in a little deeper.
Iím installing a pair of isolation transformers and checking all the outlet wiring because I have some reverse polarity issues as well as missing grounds in some locations.
Itís going to be a thorough overhaul of the ac system to get it all safe and working properly.
I understand the concept of a service loop in the wiring but this mess is something else.
On the plus side, Iíll get a lot of the wire I need just by shortening the runs in the pilot house cabinet.
Thanks again.
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Old 11-01-2021, 02:07 PM   #4
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City: Port Orchard,WA
Vessel Name: Ceora
Vessel Model: Bluewater PH Trawler
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If you start at the shore power inlet and main breaker (it should a 2 pole with neutral on one) can you trace the neutral downstream? You might use a meter at that point and ring thru all possible connections, with power off of course.
I'd be looking for any terminal strip that has multiple connections jumpered together regardless of color.
BTW, I've organized a NW Bluewater owners group. We've held several rendezvous' in recent years. Covid has prevented that for a time but I hope to get it restarted. Contact me directly if you like to join: kabystrom@msn.com
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Old 11-01-2021, 03:09 PM   #5
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City: Olympia
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Thereís no breaker by the shore inlet, thatís one of the things Iím fixing. Interestingly enough, thereís an old inlet on the pilot house thatís no longer used, and two in the cockpit. One for the original breaker panel in the PH distribution, and another for an add on panel in the salon. Iíll be adding source selector/circuit breakers at the shore inlets running to the new isolation transformers and then to the distribution panels. Since there doesnít seem to be any color code Iíll just have to ring everything out to be certain of where everything is connected. I think thereís a strong possibility that the neutrals are shared between the panels, so Iíll most likely have to add new neutral and ground busses. The way the wiring has been handled in the past makes it look like an industrial electrician has been doing the work. Gonna cost a few bucks and take some time to sort it properly.
Hopefully if I can find the original busses I can salvage at least some of the original wiring going to the outlets, but Iím not counting on it.
Iíll send you a direct email regarding the owners group and rendezvous, Iíd like to be a part of that.
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Old 11-05-2021, 10:45 AM   #6
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City: Bainbridge Island/Petersburg Alaska
Vessel Name: Oz
Vessel Model: Bluewater 40' RPH 1979
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Curious as to why two isolation transformers. We totally re-wired our Bluewater 40 when doing our rebuild-DC, AC, data, Engine wiring. Have one 5kw Acme isolation transformer. Lots of work but, worth it in the long run.
Attached Thumbnails
old wiring.jpg   agm household bank under floor in msr.jpg   original old wire runs chisled into ceiling.jpg   back of breaker cabinet.jpg   electric panels and hydronic heater in PH.jpg  

electric terminals in PH.JPG   IMG_7873.jpg   large 12v breakers, starting agm batt, and switches under msr berth.jpg  
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Old 11-05-2021, 11:41 AM   #7
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City: Olympia
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That's a good looking installation. I love the trash can full of old wire. My dc primary wiring is all new and sized properly, (if not oversized) but the distribution needs work.
The AC side is a disaster. I need two transformers as there's two shore inlets in the cockpit, and two breaker panels. One in the salon, and one in the pilothouse. I don't want to share busses between the two.
The Genset is 7.5kw and can (mostly) supply both, and when possible I can run two shore cords and not worry about shedding loads if I turn on the microwave while a heater is running.
I bought two new shore/generator circuit breaker/ selectors, and two victron energy auto voltage transformers so I can run 120 or 240 shore power depending on what's available.
It's more than what I really need, but we are aboard a lot in winter and the extra power capacity will be nice.
I wish I could install new DC distribution right now while I have things opened up, but that will have to come later.
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Old 11-06-2021, 10:33 PM   #8
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When we bought Sandpiper, the electrical system was 1/3 by factory and the rest by previous owner. Lots of reverse polarity, missing ground wires, no boxes behind outlets or switches, inadequate wire sizs and minimal breakers.

All the neutrals went to a terminal block on the back side of the steering station, next to the helm pump. I'm not sure If it was factory or PO.

I tried tracing circuits to make a wiring diagram but gave up after spending a day crawling around. I found that all the factory Chinese wire had extra thick insulation which prevented using the proper crimp connector and many spliced "Y" connections leading to dead ends.

I found it easier to remove old wiring and replace.

This was back in the early 2000's when copper was not as expensive as is now and boat wire was reasonable in price.
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Old 11-07-2021, 11:00 AM   #9
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City: Olympia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syjos View Post
When we bought Sandpiper, the electrical system was 1/3 by factory and the rest by previous owner. Lots of reverse polarity, missing ground wires, no boxes behind outlets or switches, inadequate wire sizs and minimal breakers.

All the neutrals went to a terminal block on the back side of the steering station, next to the helm pump. I'm not sure If it was factory or PO.

I tried tracing circuits to make a wiring diagram but gave up after spending a day crawling around. I found that all the factory Chinese wire had extra thick insulation which prevented using the proper crimp connector and many spliced "Y" connections leading to dead ends.

I found it easier to remove old wiring and replace.

This was back in the early 2000's when copper was not as expensive as is now and boat wire was reasonable in price.
Iíll just have to see if anything can be salvaged. I can see the original wiring runs are well organized and intact, albeit with no good color code. I can heat shrink new labels on the ends for identification if I decide to leave anything. Lately itís been tough to get boat cable. Fisheries has been out of stock on popular sizes and port supply price is too high, if they have stock anyway.
I think the heavy insulated original wire will take an uninsulated crimp and solder end with that heat shrink that has the glue inside, should be ok, weíll see. I need to bounce that off of an aybc certified electrician.
Iím going to touch every connection, I donít expect it to be quick, just thorough. We have the same polarity and ground issues. It baffles me how badly some people treat these things. Lamp cord. Need I say more?
I have located what I think is an original 120 volt terminal strip under the helm cabinet, but I havenít isolated it yet to be sure.
It doesnít have enough wires on it so there must be another neutral buss somewhere. Iím going to pull up all the floors and open the wire way next week. Ugh. At least my wife is also a qualified electrician so she can help too. Sheís small enough to get in some pretty tight places too, lucky me.
Hopefully my new steering cable will be in while I have everything opened up, it would be the perfect time to get that taken care of too.
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